The debut LP for RAKEHELL (which is actually the name of an extreme solo project by R Forster) has been over a decade in the making, with recording and mixing coming in between nursing school, a difficult move from Chicago, IL to San Francisco, CA, and many full- and part-time nursing gigs. The whole project started as a personal dare in 2001, when Forster recorded the first RAKEHELL tracks at Jackpot! Studio in Portland, OR (with Tape-Op magazine editor and ELLIOTT SMITH/QUASI recordist Larry Crane at the board). Though only one song from those initial sessions ended up on the final LP, the ball was rolling.
Over the next 11 years, Forster saved his pennies to blow on recording and mixing sessions conducted in his home town of Chicago, IL. The sessions were often grueling all-day affairs, with Forster often recording the entire instrumental tracks for four songs in a 10-hour marathon, coming back to record overdubs and vocals the following day. Basic tracks started with a pre-programmed Alesis HR-16 drum machine underpinning while Forster pounded out riffs on a battered Ibanez Stratocaster copy guitar. With occasional bass guitar and keyboards plus plenty of layered vocals to fill out the mix, the recording experience made Forster appreciate the genius of similar extreme solo recordings by the likes of TODD RUNDGREN, EMITT RHODES, PAUL MCCARTNEY and ROY WOOD all that much more.
Finally in 2011 recording and mixing for the project was completed in a basement in South San Francisco, with Forster the sole noise-meister throughout with the exception of one bass guitar part and some handclaps. The result presents a singular vision of an All-American Boy obsessed with the political and the passionate aspects of life, and fully confused by both. To complete the quirkiness of the project and to express his love for analog sound reproduction, the final release is available on vinyl LP only. How lucky that the release of this LP has coincided with vinyl sales on the rise after years of malaise!
Hear Forster (as the Rock’N’Roll Nurse) extoll his love for oddball music of all forms on his weekly radio show Geek (Ema)Nation, podcasted weekly at http://radiovalencia.fm/geekemanation/, and don’t be shy about contacting him at 1832 Eddy St/San Francisco/CA/94115/USA/(415) firstname.lastname@example.org.